De Gea heading to Old Trafford

DAVID DE Gea is set to conclude his AU$27.3m move from Atletico Madrid to Manchester United as goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar’s replacement after undergoing a medical.

On the day that Sir Alex Ferguson returned from his summer break to supervise preparations for the new campaign, De Gea arrived in Manchester barely 48 hours after helping Spain win the European Under-21 title. He was ushered into Bridgewater Hospital under a bizarre cloak of secrecy, with blankets held up in an attempt to conceal his identity.

Ferguson’s next task may be persuading Luis Nani that he has a future at United following Ashley Young’s arrival as another direct competitor. Sources in Portugal continue to insist that Nani now hankers for a move, having become disgruntled at not being a first-choice player.

Nani still insisted during a charitable appearance in Singapore that he is unconcerned by Young’s arrival, however.

“Of course I have to welcome everyone they sign, I think Man United is a fantastic club,” he said.

“When they bring in new players, they know if it is good for the team or not, and this [the Young signing] has to help them. It is good for the team - we want more players to help us to win trophies.”

Nani also said he was determined to keep Young on the substitutes’ bench, pointing to his experience in jostling for playing time with Cristiano Ronaldo before his move to Real Madrid. “I’ve been there [at United] when Cristiano was there,” Nani said. “Cristiano was one of the best players in the world.”

Javier Hernandez is unlikely to make United’s pre-season tour of the United States, despite his extraordinary following in the country last summer. He is to be granted an extended rest of at least a month following the conclusion of his role for Mexico against the US in the Gold Cup at the weekend, and may not come into contention for Ferguson until the Charity Shield match against Manchester City on 7 August. Hernandez was a key factor as Mexico overturned the Americans’ lead in Pasadena to win the Gold Cup final 4-2, at the end of 12 months of virtually constant football for him.

Celtic’s 25-year-old Honduras defender Emilio Izaguirre has insisted that Ferguson made direct contact with the Glasgow club’s board to agree a meeting next month to discuss his possible move to Old Trafford. Celtic manager Neil Lennon insists there has been no approach for Izaguirre.

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